tv PBS News Hour PBS August 24, 2010 6:00pm-7:00pm PDT
captioning sponsored by macneil/lehrer productions >> lehrer: good evening. i'm jim lehrer. home sales fell last month to the lowest level in 15 years. >> ifill: and i'm gwen ifill. on the newshour tonight, economist susan wachter explains what the plunge means for the housing market and for the fragile recovery. >> lehrer: then, scientists evan snyder and david prentice debate the impact of a judge's decision putting some embryonic stem cell research on hold. >> ifill: we have a conversation about perceptions of islam in america today. >> i do know that their ultimate goal according to the koran is world domination of their religion. >> a lot of people, a lot of fanatics take it to the extremes. that's where we get the
overall view that islam is a bad religion per se. but it's not. >> lehrer: and jeffrey brown visits the indianapolis museum of art, now attracting visitors inside and out. >> indianapolis is kind of boring sometimes but stuff like this just brings in a whole new fresh face. you know, something bright and colorful. fun. >> lehrer: that's all ahead on tonight's newshour. major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by:
foundations. and... this program was made possible by the corporation for public broadcasting. and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. >> lehrer: home sales dropped last month to their lowest level in more than a decade. the national association of realtors reported sales of existing homes in july fell by more than 27%. sales fell in all regions of the country, despite low mortgage rates and fire sale prices in many areas. the larger-than-expected drop in home sales led to a drop on wall street. the dow jones industrial average lost 134 points to close at 10,040. the nasdaq fell more than 35 points to close over 2,123. to help explain what's behind the housing fall, we have susan wachter, a professor of real estate and finance at the wharton business school of the
university of pennsylvania. professor wachter, welcome. >> hello. >> lehrer: hi. what's behind these grim housing numbers? >> first and foremost is the exploration of the home buyer tax credit which expired in july, which expired before july so that home buyers could not qualify for the tax credit. but beyond that it's the overall weak recovery and particularly the fears about jobs, low growth in jobs. >> lehrer: let's go back to the... explain how the tax credit affectd housing sales. in other words, how did it ... and then its expiration, why did it drop so? in other words, give us a feel for that. >> well, the tax credit was a powerful inducement to purchase a home up to $8,000, but there was a deadline. and the deadline, in fact, encouraged buyers to buy early, to buy now, to buy prior to
july when the tax credit expired. so in a sense the future demand was spent up early than otherwise. there was a real cost to that tax credit and demand that was pushed forward and simply isn't in the market now. >> lehrer: there was not a natural demand. it was actually prompted by this ... by the tax credit, correct? >> that is correct. part of-- not entirely all because mortgage rates were low. they're even lower now-- but part of the explanation for last year's recovery was the power of the tax credit. >> lehrer: now, you mentioned mortgage rates. now, the conventional wisdom has always been, well, when mortgage rates are low, people buy more houses. it's not working this time. why? >> the mortgage rates are at historic lows and also housing prices have fallen so housing is affordable but the fears of weak job growth, possibly
losing a job, possibly the fact that wages aren't growing strongly either makes it difficult for buyers to ... many buyers to get off the side lines and buy at this moment. there's weak consumer confidence out there. >> lehrer: just as a practical matter then, it doesn't matter if mortgage rates are low, if the prices are low, if you think you're going to lose your job or if you're lost your job, forget buying a house until you bet over that problem. is that it in a nutshell. >> absolutely. >> lehrer: is that measurable? >> it is measurable. but it's not only obviously people who have lost their job. they're not in a position to become a home buyer. but it's more pervasive than that. it's people's fears that the job market isn't recovering substantially or fast enough. so that there may be double dip in the housing sector. housing for demand might not be there, not because you
yourself don't have a job but because others . so that leads to the fear of housing prices falling which is also keeping potential buyers on the side lines. >> lehrer: would it be correct to say then that in this case at least the housing market problem is a symptom rather than a cause of the economic situation? in other words, the fear over jobs and the other things you mentioned are causing the housing problem. and housing does... on paper the housing problem does not exist without the jobs fear, correct? >> not completely. it is a symptom. that is, what's happening in the housing market absolutely is a symptom of the overall weak job recovery but it is also a cause of the weakness in the recovery. usually housing market takes us out of a recession. it's a major contributor to economic growth but not this time around. >> lehrer: not this time
around for the reasons you explained because with the job problem and these other things it's just not in a position to lead the way. is that right? >> that's right. >> lehrer: i know this is difficult, but i'm going to ask it anyhow. what are' prospects as we sit here now? i mean, is this a bottoming out or what would you... how would you explain what the market is doing right now? the housing market specifically. >> for the next month or so, we're still going to see the effects of this expiration of the tax buyer credit and also slow growth. but growth in jobs is picking up. an overall growth is picking up. we don't necessarily see a double dip housing recession . rather, the housing market is going to contribute to less of a robust recovery. we don't have a robust recovery in the first place. >> lehrer: what's your analysis of the house prices right now? housing prices?
>> right now housing prices in this most recent what we learned from the n.a.r.today their evidence suggests the median is going up slightly. that's the median. a more accurate overall picture would be that housing prices for the nation as a whole are flat. the worrisome thing is that the inventory has now gone up which actually has been decreasing. it's now increasing. that's a precursor to further housing price decline. >> lehrer: and the rise in inventory. the foreclosures, do they affect that in any way? >> yes, the inventory is due to housing construction and housing construction is at historic lows. but it's also due to foreclosures. thereby lies the problem because as housing prices, if they fall-- and we don't know that they're going to fall-- but if they fall, that could feed a cycle of falling prices, increased foreclosures. in fact that's where we were before the recovery of this past year.
now it's possible that housing prices will even with this remain flat. they'll just be lower... there will just be lower activity going forward. flat to a few percentage down. that would not be a major concern. a major concern is if we see a significant leg down in housing prices because that would start up a... we knew there would be additional pressures in the foreclosure market. >> lehrer: are there anyways or any signs to forecast whether this is going to get worse? do you see anything in this data that makes you think, oh, my goodness, there's more bad news to come? >> well, the inventory is the significant pointer to potential house price decline. but on the other hand, we have very low construction activity going on. there are loan modification plans out there. now some of them are not working as well as perhaps one might hope for. both private sector and public
sector are modifying those actively. with the recovery and the fact that the overall economy is recovering , the housing market is certainly slowing down but it might pick up again by the end of the year. >> lehrer: all right. susan wachter, thank you very much. >> pleasure. >> ifill: still to come on the newshour: putting the brakes on stem cell research; offering perspectives on islam in america; and blending art and nature in indianapolis. but first, the other news of the day. here's hari sreenivasan in our newsroom. >> sreenivasan: there was a political back and forth today over u.s. economic policy. house republican leader john boehner of ohio called on president obama to fire his top economic advisers, treasury secretary timothy geithner and the head of the national economic council, larry summers. beyond those changes, boehner called on the president to revamp his economic strategy. >> this was no substitute for a referendum on the
president's job-killing agenda. that question will be put before the american people in due time. but we do not have the luxury of waiting months for the president to pick scapegoats for his failing stimulus policies. we tried 19 months of government as community organizer and it hasn't worked. our fresh start needs to begin now. >> sreenivasan: boehner also urged the president to extend bush-era tax cuts that are set to expire soon. later in washington, vice president joe biden responded. he said boehner failed to offer concrete solutions to the economic crisis. >> sreenivasan: in other >> the rest of this so-called plan doesn't offer any economic agenda. it's merely a list of the things that they think the president should not do. so after all this build-up and hype, all we know is what john boehner and his republican colleagues are against. i know what they're against. what i don't know, other than the tax cut where the top 2%
of the tax payers in america, i don't know what they're for. >> sreenivasan: in other political news, voters went to the polls in five states for primaries and runoffs. in arizona and alaska, incumbent republican senators john mccain and lisa murkowski were expected to win their party's nomination against opponents who are backed by the tea party. and in florida, congressman kendrick meek battled real estate mogul jeff greene for the democratic senate nomination. a former employee of the u.s. department of agriculture said she will not return to work there. shirley sherrod resigned last month after video surfaced of her saying she initially declined to help a white farmer. agriculture secretary tom vilsack had asked for her resignation before learning her comments were taken out of context. today in washington, sherrod said she may do some consulting work on racial issues for the department, but could not go back full-time. in pakistan today, president asif ali zardari warned it could take at least three years to recover from devastating floods. the u.n. estimated that 800,000 of the 17 million people
affected are only reachable by air. that prompted an urgent call for at least 40 more aid helicopters. the chief medical officer in one of the worst hit areas in southern sindh province said medical treatment is also in high demand. >> in the last three days we treated around 500 to 600 children. most of them suffering were suffering with gastro logical problems and skin diseases. we're providing them with clean water, oral rehydration therapy and also medication. >> sreenivasan: also today, pakistani government officials announced they will give the equivalent of $230 in initial assistance to each family affected by the flood disaster. insurgents hit a hotel in mogadishu, somalia, today, killing at least 32 people, including members of the government. >> reporter: bystanders and survivors dragged bodies out of the hotel after the attack. a suicide bomber and gunmen disguised in military uniforms stormed in this morning, firing
indiscriminately. >> ( translated ): the total death toll of the explosion at the hotel is 32: six members of parliament, five civil servants, and 21 civilians. two militias from al-shabab broke into their hotel and killed all of them. later, the two men blew themselves up. as you can see, their limbs are everywhere. >> sreenivasan: the brazen attack was in the center of the capital city, in a violent area not far from somalia's presidential palace. al-shabab, the country's most dangerous militant group, claimed responsibility. the group has often been able to infiltrate heavily secure areas of mogadishu, but last month, it expanded its reach, targeting people in uganda watching the world cup final. 76 people died in that attack. white house counter-terrorism chief john brennan said their movement abroad is cause for concern. >> they have brought that agenda outside of somalia. they also have recruited a number of individuals from outside of somalia, including from the west, including from the united states. this is something that we are very concerned about. a number of these individuals have gone to somalia, and many of them have lost their lives.
so it is something that we are continuing to look at very closely. >> sreenivasan: al-shabab is fighting to oust the 6,000 african union troops that help back the somali government. only yesterday, the group's spokesman threatened "massive war" against those troops. the commandant of the u.s. marine corps said today it will likely be a few years before marines can leave afghanistan. president obama has said the process of troop withdrawal could begin in july 2011, if security conditions allow it. in washington, general james conway said that date may actually be giving the taliban a morale boost. >> in some ways, we think right now it's probably giving our enemy sustenance. we think that he may be saying to himself, in fact we've intercepted communications that say, hey, we only have to hold out for so long. >> sreenivasan: >> sreenivasan: conway also said he believes some american units in afghanistan will turn over responsibilities to afghans next summer, but he does not believe they will be marines. in afghanistan today, a u.s.
soldier was killed in fighting in the south. 31 americans have been killed in afghanistan this month. it was widely reported today that former president jimmy carter is traveling to north korea to win the release of an american prisoner. aijalon mahli gomes was arrested in january for illegally entering north korea. he was sentenced to eight years in prison and fined $700,000. a top u.s. official told the associated press the north korean government agreed to release gomes, if carter would bring him home. four americans were among 14 killed when a small plane crashed into a hillside in nepal. the aircraft was en route to the mount everest region when bad weather forced it to turn back. it crashed in heavy rain, breaking apart on impact. some of the bodies were retrieved by a rescue helicopter and taken to katmandu. the remaining bodies will be collected from the crash site tomorrow. those are some of the day's major stories. now, back to jim. >> lehrer: now, the fallout from a judge's ruling to halt federal funding of embryonic stem cell research. judy woodruff begins our report
with some background. >> woodruff: federal judge royce lamberth issued his ruling late yesterday afternoon, sending a shock wave through much of the american medical research community. in a 15-page opinion, lamberth ruled that embryonic stem cell research must stop and "preserve the status quo" that existed before an executive order signed by president obama early last year expanded the controversial research. >> we will lift the ban on federal funding for promising embryonic stem cell research. ( applause ) >> woodruff: that congressionally-mandated federal funding ban had been in place for more than a decade. in 2001, president bush allowed some federal funding of stem cell research, but only on a limited number of lines of embryonic stem cells that already existed. >> i have concluded that we should allow federal funds to be used for research on these existing stem cell lines, where
the life and death decision has already been made. >> woodruff: under president bush's policy, 21 lines were eventually available for federal funding. that number has grown to 75 since president obama issued his order. lamberth's ruling does not affect research on adult stem cells, or so-called "cord blood" stem cells taken from newborn umbilical cords. embryonic stem cells are culled from a human embryo when it's just days old; in the process, the embryo is destroyed. many scientists focused on those kinds of cells because they were believed to be able to develop into specialized cells that could lead to new treatments for a range of diseases. the embryos are from fertility clinics. if a patient has no plan to use the embryo, it is often discarded. president obama's executive order permitted the use of stem cells from such embryos, if a
patient gave consent. no federal dollars were spent on the extraction of the cells, which involved destruction of the embryo. but the order permitted research on these cells after they were extracted. judge lamberth ruled that that is a distinction without a difference, and put a temporary halt to the obama policy. lamberth wrote that embryonic stem cell research... dr. francis collins, the director of the national institutes of health-- which is a major center of stem cell research-- reacted to the decision today in a conference call with reporters. >> i was stunned, as was virtually everyone here at n.i.h., by the judicial decision yesterday. this decision has the potential
to do serious damage to one of the most promising areas of biomedical research, and just at the time when we were really gaining momentum. as we understand the department of justice's ruling, grantees that already have awards from n.i.h. are permitted to continue their research and need not stop in place. >> woodruff: late today, the department of justice said it would appeal judge lamberth's decision in the stem cell case. two views now on the decision, and what it will mean from people who have worked in this field. dr. evan snyder is director of the stem cell research center at sanford-burnham medical research institute; and david prentice is senior fellow for life sciences at the family research council. he served as an advisor to the plaintiffs in this court case. gentlemen, thank you both for being with us. dr. snyder, i'll begin with you. essentially what is your reaction to what the judge ruled and the fact that the obama justice department is
going to appeal? >> well, i have to echo dr. collins' response that it was both shocking and we recognize that this is a major, major blow to american biomedical research and ultimately health care. >> woodruff: a major blow for what reason? >> yes. well, as was indicated by dr. collins, the biology that we are learning and the therapies that we are getting under our control from using these amazingly important cells could change the face of medical care. it and other stem cells like it have given rise to the entire field called regenerative medicine. in a way this has put a halt to the progress of regenerative medicine. one of the most promising areas of research of this century. >> woodruff: mr. prentice, you hear what the opponents of
this rule ing are saying. you are advising the plaintiffs. how do you respond? >> we are actually very encouraged by the judge recognizing the unambiguous nature of the congress's amendment that says no federal tax payer funds for research in which an embryo is harmed or destroyed. embryonic stem cells come from destroying a human embryo. as far as the regenerative medicine part, the adult stem cells are only the stem cells that are actually already treating patients. thousands of patients every year. what we used to know as bone marrow transplants. now we're seeing that those adult stem cells are actually making good on what have only been promises from embryonic stem cells. >> woodruff: you don't see this as a major blow to regenerative research? >> actually it might be a boon to regenerative research because hopefully more federal funds will now go to adult stem cell research. >> woodruff: dr. snyder, there
has been this ongoing debate over adult stem cell research, embryonic stem cell research. comment on what we've just heard from mr. print it. >> well, i guess i would have to disagree with one important point that dr. prentice made. there is no question that blood stem cells have been exceedingly important for a whole range of diseases, typically certain kinds of cancers and blood-derived diseases. but there are a whole host of diseases for which this therapy has not been useful. and these are major diseases like parkinson's disease, alzheimer's disease, stroke. a lot of genetic diseases. and the prospect of using these other kinds of cells in a way would recap it late the developmental process gave us
a way to begin to approach the diseases that could not be approached by adult stem cells. now we are completely hampered. we've lost perhaps 50% of our momentum. >> woodruff: how do you respond? >> i disagree. there is published scientific evidence in the medical and scientific journals for adult stem cells already helping patients. for example, over a year ago the first paper published with the first parkinson's patient treated for parkinson's with his own adult stem cells. heart damage, a number of papers out. spinal cord injury. in fact, embryonic.... >> woodruff: all with adult. >> with adult stem cell. >> woodruff: that don't involve the destruction of embryos. >> that's right. 50,000 or more patients a year treated with adult stem cells. it's true most of these have been for mayor owe diseases, anemia, cancers. now we're seeing adult stem cells actually help patients-- published evidence-- for
things like parkinson's spinal cord, m.s., juvenile diabetes and the list goes on. >> woodruff: if that's the case, dr. snyder, why are the embryonic stem cells so important? >> first, i would like to respond to dr. prentice's comment that there's been demonstrated efficacy. i can tell you that i've reviewed many of those studies. i myself in our lab do research comparing various kinds of stem cells head to head. and the evidence that blood stem cells or that bone marrow- derived stem cells are useful for diabetes or for stroke or for many of the diseases that he mentioned is simply not there. those are not convincing. they're not compelling. they're overinterpreted. they're poorly controlled. >> woodruff: go ahead. >> what the younger stem cells allow us to be able to do is essentially to recap it late the developmental process
where things really need to be kind of doing a do-over, rebooting the computer. the stem cells that recap it ult this developmental process allow us to do that. in addition they give us insight into cancer. they give us insight into birth defects. they allow us to do drug discovery. so from the cells themselves, we can device and generate drugs that themselves will go into patients. none of this is potential for... is the poe fence derived from adult stem cells. >> woodruff: your comments? >> i'm surprised that dr. snyder would make that statement. these studies have been published in some of the leading scientific journals in the world. ask the patients themselves whether they appreciate having a real treatment now with adult stem cells. >> woodruff: let me ask you about one thing in the judge's ruling because i think it was part of his core line of reasoning. that is he disagreed with the obama administration contention that it's possible to do research on extracted
cells that are in effect separate from the process of destroying an embryo. >> i think the judge made a right interpretation of the law in that case. it's a law that congress has passed every year since about 1996. i think the obama administration was trying to cut the baby in half and say, this can be done with private funds, this with federal funds. eventually this will probably come back to congress for resolution. >> woodruff: dr. snyder, what about that point? the judge's argument that you can't... that in essence it's a distinction without a difference. >> well, i believe that the judge has actually misinterpreted the amendment. in fact, his interpretation will not only overturn the obama executive order. it would overturn the bush executive order which, limiting as it was, allowed the field to some extent to progress. he obviously did this kind of
reasoning called fruit of the poisonous tree kind of argument but the bush administration very thoughtfully actually figured out that they could both be compliant with the dicky-wicker amendment and still allow to some extent this research to proceed. the logical conclusion of this would be, in fact, not only can we use lines that were generated many many years before the issue with bush or with obama, but we may not even be able to use all of the valuable data that has been generated by a decade's worth of work. >> woodruff: we keep referring to this amendment. this is the amendment that bans federal funding for this kind of research. very quickly, you want to respond. >> this is solely about federal tax payer funding. >> woodruff: do you believe as we just heard dr. snyder say quickly that this could have the effect of saying that the bush line, under the bush rule even that that kind of research may not go forward?
>> it's possible. i'll have to leave that to the legal minds. but in point of fact the bush lines and their approval was moot once president obama vacated the previous executive order and put his new order in. >> woodruff: gentlemen, we will leave it there. david prentice, dr. evan snyder, thank you both. >> thank you. >> ifill: next, the roiling debate over how muslims are perceived in america. the streets surrounding ground zero in lower manhattan were given over to heated protest last weekend. >> this is their way of saying "we have the power to be anywhere we want, even on the graveyard of america." >> ifill: at issue-- a bitter and continuing debate over plans to build an islamic center and mosque two blocks away. >> racism and bigotry has found another face. now, it is against the muslims.
>> ifill: the new york debate, which has drawn national attention and even presidential comment, is not the only one of its kind being waged around the country this year. another anti-mosque protest has been unfolding in murfreesboro, tennessee. >> ifill: several new polls have illustrated a profound divide when it comes to american attitudes toward islam. this week, "time" magazine asks, "is america islamophobic?" in its poll, 46% of americans think islam is more likely than other faiths to encourage violence against nonbelievers. yet 55% of poll respondents say they consider most u.s. muslims to be patriotic americans. asked to sample opinion for the newshour, pbs stations around the country came away with a wide range of perception...and misperception.
in san antonio, texas... >> i feel that islam has the image of wanting to conquer the world. they want to establish not only their religion, but the sharia law and all that goes along with islam. and i don't think it is good for america; i don't think it is good for the world. >> i do know that their ultimate goal, according to the koran, is world domination of their religion. the difference is, in christianity, christ died for us; in islam, you die for allah. >> ifill: in boise, idaho... >> i don't see it as any more radical than any of the other faiths. you have fringe groups in every faith, whether it is muslim, mormon, jew. >> ifill: in oklahoma city, oklahoma... >> i just... i'm aware of the homegrown terrorists here, and it's a frightening thing. >> ifill: in san diego, california... >> well, i see they're
persecuted a lot because of 9/11, you know, but i think they're just like us, the same people. >> lots of other religious groups have extremists, too, and unless they come and attack us, we don't pay much attention. >> ifill: and in rochester, new york... >> a lot of fanatics take it to the extremes. that's where we get the overall view that islam is a bad religion, per se, but it's not. it's a religion just like any other with the same tenets as any other religious. >> ifill: muslims make up less than 1% of the u.s. population, and there are 1,900 mosques across the country. just this afternoon, the pew research center released a new poll showing that more americans view islam unfavorably than favorably, a shift from only five years ago, when more americans held favorable opinions. we dive a little more deeply into this now with three people who study these tensions: rev. welton gaddy is the president of the interfaith alliance, a nonpartisan group that works on issues of religious freedom. he pastors northminster baptist church in monroe, louisiana.
cynthia mahmood is a senior fellow at the university of notre dame's kroc institute for international peace studies. her work focuses on religious militants. and abdullahi an-nyeem is a professor of law at emory university in atlanta. he is a scholar of islam and human rights. i want to ask you first about what you just heard. we have heard about this lack of tolerance, this prejudice. which is it? and how real is it? >> i don't think that it is real for the majority of americans. in my experience traveling around the world, i do not find americans to be more hostile to islam or muslims than other parts of the world. i think the question of how many americans described to you and where it comes from, it is interesting to see closer to 9/11 there was a more favorable view than from that time. therefore the question is, how much this is fed by the media
and the his tear i can't... and the hysteria that some are whipping up over this issue. >> ifill: you heard the folks. what did you take from that? >> you know, gwen, i was thinking about if you had asked that question prior to 9/11, many of those people probably would have said, i don't know. i don't know that many muslims. i'm not aware of their presence in the united states. and that would be because muslims have been in this nation a long, long time. from almost the beginning. and people did not pay extra attention to them because they were good american citizens and they did the same things that other american citizens do out of other religions. so the professor is right. something has happened. i don't think it's the media myself. i think it's a politicization of this situation.
americans who once respected the muslim community are now frightened because political leaders have made political hay out of fear. >> ifill: cynthia, do you agree that something has happened? if you do, what is it? >> yes, i think the most interesting part of what these two gentlemen have just said is the change in perceptions from 9/11 to five years ago and then up until now. the muslims in america represent a huge array of national backgrounds from western china through south asia to the middle east to northern africa. they represent an array of racial backgrounds, of linguistic backgrounds. as it happens we have tied them into one category right now. that is the category of their religion, islam. at other points in time perhaps national origin or race would have been a more cogent category. but this is the salient category right now. i think since 9/11 americans have come to know something
about islam, which they haven't before, and i think we have rationally come to understand that al qaeda does not represent all of islam. but we don't recognize viscerally the true diversity in that large group of americans. we also talk of americans and muslims as if those muslims are not americans. but most many ... most of them, in fact, are. >> ifill: can you ask you a question about that? >> of course. >> ifill: is this something we have never seen before when it comes to this religious disconnect? is it something which is unique to islam or is it something we've seen before? >> well, you know i think perhaps you could look to the history of immigrant groups generally coming to this country. at first people who are already here and well settled have not understood them, have been intolerant toward them. it's taken a long time. in the case of all kinds of immigrants where they be catholics from eastern europe or ireland, the chinese who came to the west coast and faced all kinds of both legislative and social
misperceptions and discriminations. in this case the immigration of muslims to this country and the settlement of muslims in this country have been accompanied, of course, by terrorist acts and global violence as we have never seen. i think most of the... one of the most dangerous things has been the political maneuvering by some in the media and some politicians to try to, in fact, raise a hysteria around the extremists acts of some muslims. in fact, the islamic society of north america has had a huge meeting, for example, in washington d.c. one year after 9/11 it was 5,000 muslims from all around the world came to talk about islam, peace and justice. it was not covered by tonight of the media. the bbc was the only one so this is a pattern that goes on and on. americans are not seeing, they're not educated to see that side which does represent the bulk of muslims. >> ifill: let me direct to this you,
mr. an-nyemm. you were saying that some of this is a misunderstanding but i also wonder whether when you see the people who have been arrested or accused in these very widely publicized cases where the shoe bomber or the fort hood gunman or the people on 9/11, whether that has added to this feeling of insecurity. among so many americans? >> obviously it may have added to this feeling. the question is that a justified apprehension? i think at one point i would like add is that historical and global perspective. islam has been around for 1500 years. a world religion. a world religion with a national group like americans, for example, and many americans who are muslims-- myself as an american muslims, an african-american muslim-- i fully identify with being american and being muslim.
at one point is the historical depths of the global depths. second is the diversity of the population and the number. muslims are one quarter of the world population today. one in every four persons is a muslim. there are more than 40 countries where muslims are the pre-dominant majority of the population. now, is what is being said about the muslims true about muslims historically or is it something that came up over the last five or ten years. >> ifill: the answer? >> it is true about muslims globally but not historical islam and not true about contemporary islam. >> may i weigh in here a second? >> ifill: please. >> i think two things. in terms of all muslims being measured by the acts of terrorism that we've seen by people claiming to be muslims ,
it leaves a very wrong perception in people's minds. >> ifill: what do you mean by claiming? i'm sorry. what do you mean by claiming? >> because i think that some of the terror that we have seen has come from political goals, bad ties in muslim guard or cloaked in muslim guard. what you do is you try then to measure a whole religion by people who have violated the very basic precepts of that religion. for example , here the religion dimension does come in. this is one of the factors that's different. one of the people on the video clip that you showed said that islam is trying to take over the world. so is christianity trying to take over the world. and always has been. the difference is now in our
nation that we had a pre-supposition that we would never have to be worried about the no establishment clause to the constitution because most people were christians. no we are encountering people of a faith that is very sincere and a faith that likes to talk about what its faith is about. frankly when you add the political analysis and fearmongering to the popular stories about terrorism that are projected by people violating islam, then you see people scared that this religion which is not all of that familiar to american people is trying to do something in the united states that will change our character and ruin our nation. nothing could be farther from the truth. >> ifill: let me ask you all three one question. i would like all of you to respond to this because i've
been wondering this myself. is this debate we're seeing now any different or more lethal than what we've seen-- we're all old enough to remember the debate about catholicism with when john kennedy ran for president or the debates about anti-semitism which pop up from time to time. is what we're seeing now more difficult, more dangerous than the kind of debates we've seen before? i'll start with you cynthia mahmood. >> the better parallel is to the red scare of the '50s to the mccarthy era. that is how islam in america is often talked about as if it is a spreading menace, perhaps a virus that could undermine our entire civilization. in fact some of the talk even has spread to our president. somehow perhaps he is a secretly a muslim. we have to investigate. we have to find out. there have to be commissions. every mosque that is built, every community center has to be checked out for the funding for this and that. of course to a degree that's true. but not the emotional level to
which it's been brought. i think that as one who has studied war and vile eps during the whole of my professional life, this can spark a very lethal downward spiral when we cannot view the cultural and religious other in any terms other than as the enemy. that's the beginning of .... >> ifill: let me ask mr. an nyeem as well. >> i don't think that it is different from previous cycle of controversial religious communities. in that respect i think this is healthy because like, you know, fear is very human. fear of the unknown is very human. it's also human and humane to overcome our fear by knowing the other. we have seen it with catholics, with jews, with mormons. i think the point about the red scare is also accurate. but the point for me is the process of debate and how that process of debate is the way of building a national consensus around from the
principle that we all agree to live by. i see this current debate as part of that historical american phenomenon. of debating issues including today the stem cell research controversy, that is how we get to know or get to understand and ultimately we'll get to agree on what to do . >> ifill: rev. gaddy. >> i believe it is more lethal. it's not more lethal in relation to jews globally because we know about the deaths there. but i think it's more lethal in the united states itself because there are still visions of 9/11 in everyone's mind. and the assumption is that these people who are different, if you don't know them, if you don't know their religion, are just like those people who want to do us in. and so we're seeing even in the debate over property tempers and attitudes reach disproportionate levels to the point that people are willing
to do violence even about something that ought to be resolved by conversation. >> ifill: rev. welton gaddy, cynthia mahmood and mr. an-nyeem thank you all very much. >> lehrer: finally tonight, a midwestern museum presents a new face of art and nature. jeffrey brown reports. basketball and indiana. nothing more natural than that but it's not quite the same when you play on a court like this one. a sculpture titled "free basket" that marks the entrance to a grand experiment in contemporary art is quickly gaining rave reviews from critics and locals. >> i always felt like, you know, indianapolis is kind of boring sometimes but stuff like this brings in a whole
new fresh face and something bright and colorful and fun. >> brown: a number of museums around the country have turned to bold architecture in recent years to raise their profiles. here in indianapolis the museum of art has looked to the green expanse right outside its own doors to create an inviting new art park. on the day of our visit, young children took up the invitation to jump all over a piece called funky bones. the sculpture best seen from space but best enjoyed here on earth. in fact, a number of the sculptures commissioned by the museum to inaugurate the new park it calls 100 acres seemed to find their art in whimsical takes on the everyday. the 15 pieces of ... around the lake, for example. or the eden-2, the ship as art work and the sculptor sees it as a kind of modern-day arc hearing the voices of victims of global warming and rising seas an anomaly in the
otherwise idyllic setting. why a ship and why is that art? the curator is just happy to have people enjoy it all and come up with their own answers. >> the city is a city that has public spaces that are built around the past. there hasn't been a place like this where people could come and have engaging encounters with art work in a meaningful way. that would raise questions and cause people to ask, what is this? why is this here? and the thing that's been so interesting is seeing people who are clearly not of the art world, who are walking around and pretty diligently doing the trek and talking about the work and experiencing it. >> brown: whether or not the world thinks of indianapolis as an art capital, the i.m.a., as it's known, is justifiably proud of its offerings. one of the nation's largest
museums, it isen chrik owe peed i can with art from being times and place. european and american painting, a particularly strong asian collection and much else. and it's all free. museum director max anderson. >> it's a museum in indianapolis. it's a museum in the world. one of the ten oldest general art museums in the united states. >> brown: are there particular challenges for a city like indianapolis? >> we're a sports town. i don't think that's a surprise to your viewers. we're a town that's known for being aspirational in certain ways around competition. certainly the museum has a degree of spirited competition in the way we collect and put on exhibitions and other things. >> brown: outside some competition. as the i.m.a. sought to stand out among other art park. one way only contemporary artists and not the tried and true but fresh names and works. and key to the concept, keep the work coming. changing the exhibitions as much as possible to give visitors something new. >> when i came here initially
eight years ago, people said to me, how are you ever going to make contemporary art relevant in a place like indianapolis? you know, it's the middle of the country. it's extremely conservative. you're making a big mistake. i said, "i don't look at it as a mistake. i look at it as an interesting challenge." >> brown: one challenge to the artist: use the specific space. so this is a nice spot by the lake, huh? artist kendall buster's multilayer strat up made of fiberglass and steel served as a platform to fish to gaze at the lake. >> kendall came out here and studied the park for a long time and the way that people were using it. she was interested with the way that people were engaging with the lake and the landscape. >> brown: engaging means they were fishing, they were.... >> they were fishing, they were sometimes floating on floatees, picnicking on the edge of the lake. you know, just enjoying it.
>> brown: thrill ian artist is a park within the park. a contempt practice tiff space of indiana lime stone, grass and trees entered through an underground tunnel. a pis of art or just a nice space? it didn't matter to these two brothers who just visited. >> i liked how it was constructed. it wasn't your original brick. it was very nice. >> i just really thought it was a peaceful, quiet place. there was no steady noises or anything. it was just quiet. it's great for a wedding and stuff. >> brown: interesting commute. and then there's indianapolis island by this artist, a fiberglass enclosure that floats in the middle of the lake, part performance art, part sociological experiment as two art students, jessica and michael live on the island. >> it's like we're zoo animals. it's really fun when you walk
out on to the porch to brush your teeth or something and there are people on the pier just like, i see them. >> brown: there go the monkeys. the artists. >> they get all excited when we wave. it's just fun to see but it's also interesting, you know, that happening every day, all day. >> i walked outside on the porch and there was a group of kids or something on the kendall buster pier. they all yelled out in unison, hi, jessica. that was the first time i was like, whoa, people are watching. >> brown: the two used new technology to blog about their experience and old technology to generate their electricity. when a flag is is raised, would-be visitors on shore can be asked to be picked up. the only requirement is a trade. bring something in and take something out. for the new park as a whole, so far among first visitors so good. an homage to basketball through art. >> yeah, i think it's great that the i.m.a.has found
artists from cuba actually who could come to indianapolis and create a work that is i think the best avocation of the state game of basketball since hoosiers. >> brown: lieu harry writes on the arts for the indianapolis business journal. >> i think we're going to see more people who are interested in the arts traveling from outside the area specifically to anchor a trip in this spot. >> brown: the museum director max anderson, there's already been an added benefit. rather than just an addition, the park is serving as a doorway into the museum proper especially for those who might not otherwise make that trip. >> i think the park is for us a means to attract audiences who may be intimidateded by art museums. it's a wonderful acompanyment to their experience of the park itself to come here either to cool off or learn about what's going on in this big building. >> brown: the trick now for the ima is to make sure the
synergy between inside and out continues. >> ifill: again, the major developments of the day. sales of existing homes took a sharp dive last month to their lowest level in more than a decade. sales fell in all regions of the country, despite low mortgage rates and fire sale prices in many areas. the justice department will appeal a court ruling that temporarily blocks federal funding of human embryonic stem cell research. and the president of pakistan warned it could take his country at least three years to recover from devastating floods. the newshour is always online. hari sreenivasan, in our newsroom, previews what's there. hari. >> sreenivasan: watch extended excerpts from jeff's interviews about the indianapolis art museum on "art beat." read what political editor david chalian and his team have to say about today's primary races in arizona, florida and elsewhere. that's on "the rundown" news blog. plus on the gulf oil spill, we look at a new study examining oil-eating bacteria that are
breaking down the underwater plume. all that and more is on our web site, newshour.pbs.org. gwen. >> ifill: and that's the newshour for tonight. on wednesday, margaret warner, in iraq, interviews u.s. military commander general ray odierno. i'm gwen ifill. >> lehrer: and i'm jim lehrer. we'll see you online, and again here tomorrow evening. thank you and good night. major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by:
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